Developer Spotlight: Brian Mullis

An agency developer discusses switching from WordPress to go API-first in the cloud.

A new Developer Hero joins us in our latest installment of the Cosmic JSDeveloper Spotlight Series. We sat down with Brian Mullis, a developer working for an interactive agency in Portland. Check him out on GitHub, and enjoy the Q/A.

How long have you been building software?

I have been building websites and applications for around 2 years now. Before learning web development I was in the Marines, did private security, and drove tractor trailers across the country. Though incredibly challenging, web development has seriously changed my life, and allowed me to pursue a career I never could have imagined.

What is your preferred development stack?

I learned development using a PHP/MySQL stack. However, lately I’ve been more interested in building front end applications with React and Vue. The shift towards using language-agnostic API’s to access data is interesting to me, and I plan on implementing it more in my future projects.

What past projects are you most proud of and why?

To be honest, I’d have to pick some of my earlier projects where I was learning so much as I went, and creating things in ways nobody would recommend duplicating. I remember making some truly “Frankenstein” applications and getting them to work somehow, it was so much fun.

We know you’ve developed a lot in WordPress and are now going API-first. What’s your process for building apps for your clients?

I have been building WordPress sites for over a year at a small agency. As I became a better developer, I grew increasingly frustrated with WordPress. I prefer to develop locally with modern build tools, which means I’m constantly syncing databases between my local server and development servers, and if that’s not enough of a headache, trying to collaborate with another developer on a project is complete misery. One solution I toyed with was the “headless WordPress” approach, which is just using the WordPress API to deliver the content to a separate front end application. This worked to an extent, but it’s really forcing the platform to behave in a way it wasn’t intended to be used. This also adds unnecessary confusion for the client.

This is where Cosmic JS picks up the ball and runs with it. The simple interface is perfect for clients, and familiar enough for them to feel comfortable editing content. Collaborating with a fellow developer is now so simple with the one-click deployments from our GitHub repositories. I will not miss the days of syncing WordPress databases across multiple environments. Cosmic JS has allowed me to create more efficient development processes that reduce headaches and time in getting products to market.

What are some technologies you are excited about that you are using today, or want to learn more about?

I’m really enjoying React with Redux. It pairs perfectly with Cosmic JS as the backend, and allows me to create cool applications in a much shorter time-period.

Cosmic JS Developer Spotlight Series

Developer Spotlight: Micah Walter
Developer Spotlight: Joe Tuson
Developer Spotlight: Coding Dojo
Developer Spotlight: Simple Media
Developer Spotlight: Jon Kalfayan
Developer Spotlight: Jon Bloomer

Cosmic JS is an API-first cloud-based content management platform that makes it easy to manage applications and content. If you have questions about the Cosmic JS API, please reach out to us on Twitter or join the community on Slack.